Desisa, Rotich to Defend at 120th Boston Marathon




·      Lelisa Desisa and
Caroline Rotich Set To Defend Titles On April 18

·      2016 Marks
31st Year Of John Hancock’s Sponsorship Of The Boston Marathon


BOSTON, MA, December, 16, 2015‰ÛÓJohn Hancock Financial today announced
the return of 2015 Boston Marathon champions Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Caroline
Rotich of Kenya for the 120th running of the race on April 18, 2016. (Photo by

 Last year the chase for the men’s title
was aggressive with a deep international field of Olympic medalists, IAAF World
Marathon champions, and Abbott World Marathon Majors winners battling for the
win in rainy and windy conditions. Experience proved the deciding factor,
however, as Desisa broke away from Yemane Tsegay and Wilson Chebet in the
closing mile to secure his second Boston Marathon title. 

After Desisa’s first win in 2013, he
gifted his champion’s medal back to the City of Boston to honor the victims and
families affected by the April 15 race day tragedy. His sincere gesture earned
him a place in the hearts of all who respect what the sport of marathon running
exemplifies, and his repeat win has firmly placed him in the record books as
the only Ethiopian man to have won the Boston Marathon twice. Named the #1
marathoner in the world by Track &
Field News
in 2013 for his Boston and Dubai Marathon wins and silver medal
at the IAAF World Championships Marathon, Desisa has also finished second and
third, respectively, at the TCS New York City Marathon the past two years.

“I am so happy to return
to Boston in 2016 to try to make history as a three-time champion of the
world’s most historic race and to do my best to represent Ethiopian running on
the global stage,” said Desisa. “Boston has become more than a race to me; the
city and its people are special and my wins in Boston are the most important moments
in my athletic career. I am dreaming of crossing the finish line first for the
third time.” 

In last year’s women’s race, there was
another dramatic finish that hundreds of thousands of fans have come to expect
at the Boston Marathon. In the final mile, three women pulled away from the
lead pack: Caroline Rotich, Mare Dibaba and Buzunesh Deba. All brought Boston
experience to the race and all were seeking their first Boston title. As Deba
faded rounding the historic right on Hereford and left on Boylston, Rotich and Dibaba
raced side-by-side down the finish stretch. Rotich called upon her inner
reserves for a final surge and prevailed over Dibaba by four seconds for the

Rotich, two-time winner of the New York
City Half Marathon and past winner of the Las Vegas and Prague Marathons, said,
“Winning the 2015 Boston Marathon was my biggest
and most treasured
performance. For what Boston has given me and what Boston has endured, I would
like to give back by defending my title on April 18. I cannot wait to line up
with everyone else and give it 100 percent.”

“John Hancock is thrilled to celebrate the return of our defending
Boston Marathon champions Lelisa and Caroline,” said Rob Friedman, head of
Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. “When you become a champion at
Boston, you become part of the Boston community and part of a tradition that is
over a century in the making. We look forward to our defending champions
joining the rest of the elite athlete field from around the world and the tens
of thousands of runners who will line up at the start line in Hopkinton on
April 18 to participate in the world’s most historic marathon.”

“Lelisa and Caroline are inspiring and popular champions of
the streets of Boston that our fans and followers will surely be eager to see
again,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director.  “They have not only proven themselves at the Boston
Marathon, but they have returned to run other Boston road races, endearing
themselves to our spectators and their fellow participants.  We are always particularly proud to be
able to welcome back our defending champions.”

The 2016 Boston Marathon marks the 31st year of John
Hancock’s landmark sponsorship of the legendary race. The complete elite
international field will be announced in January. For additional information
about the elite athlete program and sponsorship, please visit or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter.


About John Hancock Financial and Manulife

Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife, a leading Canada-based financial
services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States.
Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the
United States, our group of companies offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Assets under
management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were C$888
billion (US$663 billion) as at September 30, 2015
. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX,
NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife can be found on the
Internet at

The John Hancock unit, through
its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the
United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial
products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans,
long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business
insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at

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